Todd Park Data Liberacion
Sarianne Gruber MPH, MS
SG Healthcare Analytics LLC
Todd Park, HHS Chief Technology Officer, is looking for Healthcare Innovators. He has unleashed agency-held metrics into open datasets or what he refers to as “Data Liberacion” and is hopeful to turn the HHS into the “NOAA of heath data”. An entrepreneur himself, Park co-founded athenahealth, a successful healthcare technology company, and is now the HHS “entrepreneur-in-residence” speaking to startups anxious to build apps and tools, leverage data and seek ways to improve our health.
Park drew a full house at Pfizer’s New York City headquarters late in the afternoon, on Friday August 12. The event was jointly hosted by New York’s Hack/Hackers, a meet-up of journalists and technologists, and Health 2.0 NYC, a meet-up of healthcare professionals, entrepreneurs and investors building new companies. Park, an energetic and enthusiastic speaker, is spreading the word on the new incentives for health IT. He tells how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has set the stage with Meaningful Use requirements embedded in EHR software, marrying technology to produce better outcomes. And now reimbursement policies are moving away from fee for service to quality of health markers. Park’s message is simple– to incentivize change you must reward health improvement. And the plan is to start with data liquidity and create market transparency. In other words, turn paper data into accessible electronic data for the medical and patient communities. He mentioned notable initiatives such as the Direct Project, a secure messaging platform for doctors, and the Blue Button program that allows Medicare recipients and Veterans access to their personal health records. A fan of the Affordable Care Act, Parks cited the new health insurance market tool HealthCare.gov that lists price, benefits and provider quality information.
Park’s national campaign is cultivating new businesses through public outreach programs such as the Health Data-palooza (an American idol style competition held in June), Code-A-thons, and personal speaking engagements with local health innovator meet-ups. It is a very ingenious and resourceful move to make data available and giving the challenge of creating new business opportunities to those who can and are eager to find answers. The key ingredient has been the health data initiative. The website www.data.gov/health is a plethora of information such as community health data, provider directories, Blue Button files, consumer product and recall data, clinical trial listings and many, many more sources of invaluable information. Another popular site is www.healthindicators.gov. The upshot has been available health data with the viral impact on healthcare entrepreneurs and innovators. Hearing Park’s list successful new comers like ww.itriagehealth.com, www.patientslikeme.com, www.Asthmapolis.com and www.FreshFoodOasis.com gave justification to his vision.
As a healthcare professional in analytics, I have worked first hand with physicians adjusting to the EHR implementation process to see beyond the cost and workflow changes. We need to continue to educate how making data available by merging health IT and informatics can reduce costs and save lives. The benefits of tracking patients, following outcomes, studying disease management and designing clinical trials does indeed improve patient care, provide cost-effective treatments and new therapies. We need to adequately compensate healthcare providers, guarantee satisfied patients and most of all maintain healthy and happy people. Thank you Todd Park.